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Government announces gay marriage plans

The government has announced its much discussed plans to legalise gay marriage in the UK.

MPs will be given a free vote on a bill to be introduced in January, with the first same sex marriages expected in 2014. In an attempt to placate traditional Conservatives opposed to the plans, the legislation will include a so-called “quadruple lock”, which would make it illegal to for the Church of England to conduct gay marriages and prevent the European Court of Human Rights from intervening. Other religious organisations will be able to opt in as they wish.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller told MPs: “Because the churches of England and Wales have explicitly stated that they do not wish to conduct same-sex marriage, the legislation will explicitly state that it would be illegal for the churches of England and Wales to marry same-sex couples. That provision recognises and protects the unique and established nature of those churches.”

Government sources expect the legislation to reach the statute books despite the opposition of around 100 Tory MPs, as the measure has the support of approximately 80 per cent of the Labour Party.

As expected the plans do not extend civil partnerships to heterosexual couples.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage believes the plans will increase support for his party. He told The Guardian: “David Cameron’s proposal has the potential to rip apart the traditional rural Tory vote. While Ukip wholly respects the rights of gay people to have civil partnerships, we feel the prime minister’s proposals will present an affront to millions of people in this country for whom this will be the final straw.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. JamesB says:

    Does the legislation enable civil partnerships for heterosexuals? It should, in the interests of equality. Alternatively, the status quo would be better as I don’t think it really matters. My gay friends say to me that they aren’t interested in getting married and won’t be anyway.

  2. DT says:

    Evening James
    You make the important point about ‘equality’; which is what all this is about.

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